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Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

I’m not sure what it is, but I am obsessed with coconut right now.

Maybe all this winter weather is simply too much for me, and, in response, I’m making things that remind me of the light and airy days of summer.

Whatever the reason, I’m okay with it.

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First there was the Banana Pina Colada Muffins. Then German Chocolate Cupcakes.

And now…something I’m calling German Chocolate Cookie Bars.

But I guess they could also be called “I made too much German Chocolate icing and need something else to use it in” bars. Or “those cupcakes disappeared too quickly and we need a new sweet treat in the house” bars.

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Even if you don’t have a good reason to make these, do it anyway. You won’t regret it.

 

German Chocolate Cookie Bars

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Icing (see this post for icing directions):

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 –1 cup pecans

Chocolate Topping:

  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

 

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Cream Earth Balance/butter and sugar.

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Beat in flour, vanilla, and salt.

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The crust will be ready when the mixture is combined but still crumbly and when it clumps up when you press it together (like above).

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Dump crust into 8×8 baking dish and press into an even layer.

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Bake crust at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until set and golden around the edges. Let the crust cool completely.

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Once the crust is cool to the touch, spread on your cooled icing into an even layer on the crust.

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To make the chocolate topping, put your dark chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 1 minute, stirring every 20-30 seconds or until chocolate is melted and smooth.

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Dump chocolate on top of icing and smooth out, covering the entire dish.

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Let sit at room temperature until chocolate layer is set.

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I cut these into 16 pieces (from an 8×8 dish), and I’m glad I didn’t cut them any bigger!

These bars are delicious, but very rich, thanks to the coconut icing.

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But the richness didn’t stop me from having two of them right away.

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Three years ago, I made my first layer cake.

To be honest, it was horrible.

The cake itself tasted good (it was a box mix and canned icing, so at least I didn’t mess that up), but it was uneven and the top kept sliding off and I didn’t have an actual cake stand so my upside-down bowl crushed the icing from the sides of the cake.

Thankfully, Nick didn’t really care what it looked like after the first night, and we ate it anyways.

The sad part? That sad, sloppy cake was his birthday cake that year.

I knew I had to make it up at some point. And I think these cupcakes did just that.

See, Nick loves German Chocolate Cake. And so do I! The rich coconut and pecan icing and delicate chocolate cake is one of my favorite combinations.

And while I DO have a real cake stand now, I wanted to try my hand at my own recipe for the cake and icing. Since I was already taking a risk making up a healthier recipe, I didn’t want to chance having another ugly layer cake.

So cupcakes it was!IMG_1112

If you would have told me last year that I would be making up my own vegan recipes, I would never have believed you.

And if you would have told me that not only would my husband love these cupcakes (and not know they were whole wheat and vegan) but also that I could fool coworkers – I might have laughed in your face.

But thank goodness I went through with it. Because these are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made – no comparison.

German Chocolate Cupcakes (Vegan!)

Makes 1 dozen cupcakes

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Earth Balance
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1/2 –1 cup pecans

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In large bowl, mix almond milk with vinegar and let sit 5 minutes or until milk has “curdled”.

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Whisk sugar, oil, and vanilla into milk mixture until some bubbles stay on top of the mixture.

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Whisk in the cocoa, then whisk in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

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Once the mixture is smooth, pour into cupcake liners or a sprayed muffin tin, filling each one about 3/4 of the way.

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Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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While the cupcakes are baking, heat the almond milk, sugar, and Earth Balance on the stove top until it comes to a boil.

In separate bowl/dish, mix cornstarch and water together.

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Once milk mixture comes to a boil, put 1-2 spoonfuls into the cornstarch mixture and stir together.

Add cornstarch mixture back to milk/sugar and stir.

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Bring mixture back to a boil until thickened. Take off the heat.

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Stir in the vanilla, coconut and pecans, and let sit to cool.

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Once the cupcakes and icing have cooled, dollop a spoonful of the icing on each cupcake and smooth out to the edges.

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Serve to your family who think they don’t like anything “whole wheat”.

Give some to your friends who freak out when they hear the word “vegan”.

Then just sit back, relax, and watch their reactions.

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And make sure to not tell them that these cupcakes are actually pretty healthy, whole wheat, and vegan until after they’ve had a few.

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It’s more fun that way.

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Winner, winner + Coconut Loves

Happy Monday!

I’m very sad the holiday weekend is over, but it’s almost December and that is a great thing. I’m ready for Christmas music, candles, and lights. Plus – we’ll be moving into our first house together in December. It will be an exciting month.

To start the day right, I’ve got the Tropical Traditions coconut oil winner!

So…Congrats to…

Tammy

stuffing is definately my favorite!

Big congrats!!! Please email me at branappetit [at] gmail and your oil will be on its way : )

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Are you like me and love coconut?

What are your favorite dishes using coconut? Cookies? Soups and curries with coconut milk? Baked goods?

 

Nick and I are traveling back home today, and I’m hoping the roads won’t be too crowded. See ya from home!

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A few weeks ago, I entered and was chosen to participate in Joanne’s Marx Foods Recipe Impossible Challenge, with the main ingredient being winter squash.

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Not one to turn down a food challenge, I was excited to see what showed up on my doorstep a week later.

As part of the challenge, we had three rules:

  • The recipe must use winter squash
  • The recipe must use at least 2 of the secret ingredients
  • The recipe must be posted by October 27th

This recipe challenge was put on by Marx Foods, so each participant was sent a box of “secret ingredients” to use in our final recipes.

The box had such a great mix of ingredients, and (except for the maple sugar), they were all items I had never used before!

  • fennel pollen
  • espresso salt
  • ginger salt
  • maple sugar
  • coconut sugar
  • vanilla beans
  • pasilla negro chiles
  • aji panca chiles

Honestly, this mix of ingredients had me torn.

Do I make a sweet or savory dish? Sweet or savory?

I brainstormed for a few days and decided to just do one of each! I had two great ideas that I really wanted to try with the ingredients I received.

Thankfully, I fought the squash and I won.

Winter Squash Challenge Recipe 1: Savory

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My first dish is one you’ve already seen in pictures.

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Chunky Mocha Mole Chili

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and sliced
  • 2 pasilla negro chiles, rehydrated
  • 2 aji panca chiles, rehydrated
  • 1 lb. ground buffalo
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans kidney beans, drained rinsed
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp espresso salt
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Halve acorn squash and remove seeds. Slice into 1” slices. Lay on baking sheet and roast at 400 for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through until soft and browned.
  3. Cut tops off all chiles and remove seeds.
  4. Place chiles in bowl of warm water and let sit about 5 minutes.
  5. Heat olive oil in large pot over medium heat.
  6. Add onion, garlic, and carrot and cook 2-3 minutes until softened.
  7. Stir in black beans, 1 can of kidney beans, and crushed tomatoes.
  8. Once mixture is combined, put mixture in blender/food processor and let sit.
  9. In same pot, add in ground buffalo. Brown meat.
  10. Once meat is cooked, add tomato paste, cocoa powder, espresso salt, and cumin.
  11. Stir and cook 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  12. Drain chiles and add them to the blender/food processor with the bean mixture. Blend together.
  13. Pour bean and chile mixture into meat.
  14. Add remaining can of beans.
  15. Once squash is roasted, cut peel away and slice into bite size chunks. Stir squash into chili.
  16. Serve in halved acorn squash, if possible, and top with avocado.

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Honestly. I’ve always though that I made pretty good chili.

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But this recipe was incredible. I don’t think I can make chili without dried chiles now! There was such a deep and rich flavor in this dish – maybe it was the combination of chiles, espresso salt, and cocoa – but whatever it was, I want it in every chili I have from now on.

I was so surprised that this chili had such a great flavor because I didn’t let it cook for hours or simmer in the crockpot all day long. And that makes me happy. Because now I know – with dried chiles, coffee, and cocoa powder, I can make an amazing chili in 30 minutes, if needed.

And while you don’t have to serve this in a squash bowl, it’s a fun way to eat it.

Winter Squash Challenge Recipe 2: Sweet

For my second recipe…I had a very hard time deciding what to make.

I honestly had a list of about five recipes I wanted to try with these ingredients, but I finally put together a recipe I thought would work and that was something I thought Nick and I would both enjoy.

See…I like winter squash more than Nick. So I wanted to make sure I chose recipes that we would both want to eat.

Challenge accepted, challenge completed.

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My sweet creation included 4 of the “secret ingredients”.

  • Vanilla bean
  • Ginger salt
  • Maple sugar
  • Coconut sugar

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Going sweet in this recipe meant one thing: Butternut.

Bright orange.

Smooth and creamy.

A sign of fall.

Enough sweetness to carry a sweet dish or contrast spicy heat.

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Can you believe this was my first time to ever use fresh vanilla?

I’m not sure I can ever go back to vanilla extract.

This stuff is like black gold. My house smelled amazing for hours.

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Butternut Streusel Casserole

Base:

  • 1 2-2 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp agave
  • 2 tsp ginger salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla bean
  • 2 tsp fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 cup milk

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbsp maple sugar
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pecans
  • 1 Tbsp coconut
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Steam squash on stovetop or in microwave. Let sit and cool 5 minutes.
  3. Mix all topping ingredients in bowl and set aside.
  4. Once squash has cooled 5 minutes, mash with potato masher or forks until smooth.
  5. Beat in eggs, agave, ginger salt, vanilla, orange zest, and milk.
  6. Pour squash mixture into 4 6 oz. ramekins or 1 8×8 or oval baking dish.
  7. Top with streusel mixture.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until topping is golden and squash filling is set.
  9. Let cool 5 minutes and serve.

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Fresh vanilla is the key in this! Although, the maple + coconut sugars made an amazing crust…you just can’t ignore the beautiful little black specks in the butternut base.

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We had this with our dinner last night.

Sort of side dish, but sort of dessert. It was the perfect item to have along with our Hearst Ranch flank steak and salad.

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Thanks to Joanne for offering this winter squash challenge and to Marx Foods for hosting it and sending the secret ingredients.

I felt like I was on Iron Chef opening up the box of samples, wondering what I had to work with.

I had a great time working with all the ingredients and learned so much about new flavors and textures.

And now that this one is over…I’m ready for a new challenge Smile

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Hello Bran Appétit readers!

My name is Lily, and I write a blog called Lily’s Health Pad where I discuss eating, exercising, and living healthfully while on a budget.

As you probably know, Brandi is vacationing in Spain. So, I hope you don’t mind my short takeover of her blog. When Brandi announced her need for guest posters, I jumped at the opportunity. As an avid reader of her blog, I am constantly impressed by her simple and delicious approach to cooking and meal planning.

Today, I’m going to introduce you all to baking with coconut flour. I’m also going to share a recipe for peanut butter muffins. It’s probably my favorite coconut flour recipe. Not to mention, it’s simple and delicious, so I know Brandi would approve!

Baking With Coconut Flour 101


Coconut flour is simply the fiber from coconut meat after most of the oil has been extracted. For those with allergies and intolerances, coconut flour is a wheat- free, gluten-free alternative to traditional flours. But coconut flour can and should be enjoyed by all. Even those without allergies will enjoy cooking with this product because baked goods that contain coconut flour always have a great texture and a hint of coconut flavor. Plus, coconut flour has some impressive nutritional stats. Check ‘em out below.

¼ cup coconut flour contains:

Calories-228

Fat- 8.4 grams

Carbohydrates- 33.2 grams

Protein-9.8 grams

Fiber-21 grams

Here are a few more tips and facts that will aid you in baking with coconut flour:

1) Coconut flour is quite dry on its own, so recipes using coconut flour almost always include more eggs than a traditional recipe.

2) You can replace up to 20% of the flour called for in a recipe with coconut flour. Just make sure you add the same percentage of liquid to the recipe.

3) When baking with coconut flour, don’t worry if your batter seems runnier than usual. Coconut flour’s high fiber content makes it very absorbent. During baking, the coconut will absorb much of the liquid.

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Now, onto my favorite coconut flour recipe!


Peanut Butter Muffins

(yields 6 muffins)

Ingredients

· 3 eggs

· 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted (you could sub oil or butter)

· 5 tablespoons sucanat (you can sub brown sugar)

· ¼ cup natural peanut butter

· ¼ teaspoon salt

· ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

· ¼ cup coconut flour

· ¼ teaspoon baking powder

Directions

· Blend together eggs, oil, sugar, peanut butter, salt, and

vanilla extract.

· Combine coconut flour with baking powder and whisk into batter until there are no lumps.

· Fill 6 muffin cups halfway with batter.

· Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. (Makes 6 muffins.)

Voila!


You’ve got to try this recipe! It makes scrumptious muffins that have a delightful texture.

Swing by Lily’s Health Pad and let me know if you like cooking with coconut flour as much as I do!

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